Week 02

160314 – 160320 — Total classroom hours: 18.25

The first thing I did last week was physically write down my goals for the upcoming week. And when I say physically I mean clipboard, paper, and a sharpie. It wasn’t elaborate, only two items:

  • Complete Bloc up to Checkpoint 16
  • Upload blog post by Sunday PM

By Wednesday the list had been updated to:

  • Complete Bloc up to Checkpoint 16 17 20
  • Upload blog post by Sunday PM

The clipboard is on my desk, leaned against the wall, just above and to the left my eyeline to my laptop. Its always there, keeping me in check. I can’t remember the last time I’ve made and actual checklist for something, but I think it’s important for this program. I’m steadily keeping ahead of the course-designated timeline, so its good to have some kind of set parameters, otherwise it could seem like I’m just wandering around a dark cave of hashes and arrays with no flashlight.

I updated the goals as I progressed through the week because I realized that a majority of them were dealing with setting up a workspace, which I already had, so I knew I would cruise through them pretty quickly. At this point (Sunday AM) I’m just beginning Checkpoint 20, but I confident I will be able to complete it before end of day.

There were some solid programming challenges this week. I actually spent a fair amount of time on the ‘Extra Credit’ Checkpoint, which as of this week has been changed to Programming Reinforcement Checkpoint. In these checkpoints Bloc utilizes the website Codewars to reassess programming principles they covered in the previous checkpoints. They were relatively simple challenges, in that the ‘answers’ weren’t much more than 3-4 lines, but they kicked my ass a bit.

After spending 2 unsuccessful hours on one particular challenge I enlisted the help of the husband and wife super programmer team Corey and Emily Davis. Together we found a working solution and then I worked backwards to see where my attempts had failed. At some point -especially early on in the learning process- I feel that it is more efficient to be given the answer and then work through it to see where my attempts went wrong. Both Corey and Emily are great teachers who thoroughly explain every step of their thought process while helping me find the solution, they are an incredible resource to have.

I am starting to dive into the first project-based checkpoints where we build an address book. The foundation lessons are really coming into play, and writing the tests before the code to make the tests pass (TDD) forces me to fully consider what I want each block of code to do. I have done similar projects with another ruby education program, but it was a lot of just trying to mimic what they were doing into my own text editor and get the tests to pass. What I was actually having the code do was not sinking in. Both the pace of the Bloc curriculum, and having done something similar before, are big factors as to why I feel more confident in the application that I am building now.

I haven’t dug too hard into what will be happening next week, but by just looking at the roadmap it looks like I should be finishing up the address book app and complete another Programming Reinforcement Checkpoint. As the curriculum gets more difficult I doubt I’ll be able to keep my current pacing, but I’ve definitely given myself a solid start so I’m not too concerned about it.

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